Bricks—wood-fired pieces of clay that sit between layers of mortar—have been around since the early days of human-made architecture. Despite that, they still feel like a modern and limitless material. In 2018, though, an “improvement” on the brick was bound to happen, and now it has.
Brixels™, as the name suggests, combines brick and pixels. Created by the design studio Breakfast, Brixels are vaguely brick-like pieces of material that are controlled via software.
Each Brixel is controlled through an app and can rotate on command to a specific position, one-upping the regular old brick by turning a facade into a kinetic surface. Breakfast designed a series of Brixels that range in size, shape, color and material, from wood rectangles to gilded diamonds (Brixels are endlessly customizable, the creators say).
To showcase the wonder of the Brixel, Breakfast created Brixel Mirror, a 16 by 9 foot installation made from 540 black and mirrored pieces. As the rectangles spin around, they create a shimmering effect before displaying the word BRIXEL.
According to the designers, the bricks are meant for artists and architects who want to build interactive installations and structures. One example shows how Brixels can be used to display flight information—like a super high-tech Solari split-flap board. Another shows a subtly morphing lobby wall that could just as easily become a textured facade.